I can't remember whether or not we had party favors at our wedding. In fact, I can't remember the party favors at a single one of my friend's weddings though I'm almost 100% sure we all had them. The moment the reception ends we forget most wedding details. Unfortunately many couples spend their precious engagement season event planning, all so they can create a great wedding rather than create a great marriage.
Don't make that mistake! Before you find the dress and get ready to walk down the aisle, make sure you carve out time for premarital counseling. Research shows that couples who engage in premarital counseling reduce their risk of divorce by 30%. That number could mean the difference between repeating a cycle of broken families or growing old with the one you love.
But how can you find the best premarital counselor to support you through engagement? After providing counseling for numerous couples here in New York City both privately and in group workshops, here are my best tips for how to choose a premarital counselor that works for you. Scroll down to see if you have all your bases covered.
How to Choose a Premarital Counselor
DECIDE ON THE BEST STYLE FOR YOUR RELATIONSHIP
Would you benefit from a group environment or for more personalized attention? Select a premarital counselor who offers the style that works best for you. It’s even better if your counselor offers both styles so you can take advantage of both options if needed.
FIND A COUNSELOR WITH PROFESSIONAL TRAINING
While older married couples, pastors and family members are great at providing support and advice, there is no substitute for clinical training. Make sure you’re meeting with a counselor trained in psychology who can meet your needs objectively. Marriage and Family Therapists specialize in working with couple dynamics and are often the best options.
FIND A COUNSELOR WITH EXPERIENCE
When it comes to counseling, years don’t matter as much as sessions or clients. Meet with a counselor who has provided therapy for at least twenty couples or led a minimum of 100 sessions. You’ll benefit from their expertise.
ASK ABOUT THE COUNSELOR’S PROCESS
Learn about how your counselor approaches preparing you for marriage. You’ll want to know how long sessions last, what’s expected of you while you’re there and what kind of ongoing support they may provide.
CHOOSE SOMEONE WHO OFFERS AN ONLINE ASSESSMENT
Research shows that the best premarital education includes both skills training AND a relationship assessment so you know exactly how to apply what you learn. Make sure your premarital facilitator can register you for a Prepare Enrich or SYMBIS (Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts) assessment.
ASK ABOUT THE COUNSELOR’S FEE
Be sure you’re clear on how much the counselor charges either for each session or for a package. Remember that an experienced counselor will likely charge more, but it’s a better investment in the long-run. You’ll have fewer sessions with an expert who can quickly assess your patterns.
Reach out to friends and family for recommendations on people they have enjoyed working with in the past. Word of mouth is often a great last resort.
Ready to Get Started?
If you are engaged or pre-engaged, I would love to recommend local counselors or workshops to help you on your journey toward marriage. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for recommendations. Be sure to download the criteria listed above online in the "How To Choose a Premarital Counselor" guide so you can filter your options with these important questions in mind.
Better yet, take the extra step therapists recommend to prepare your relationship for marriage by taking an online relationship assessment. I can set you up to take the Prepare Enrich or Saving Your marriage Before It Starts assessments online today. Just visit bit.ly/marriageassessment and get 10% off your assessment using promo code 'marriageprep'.
Spending time with a trained counselor can be one of the best lifelong investments you can make for your relationship and will outlast the flowers, bridesmaid gowns and definitely the party favors.